What is Unexplained Infertility?
If you’ve been struggling to conceive for more than a year, and reasons for pregnancy delays are still unclear after fertility assessments, tests, and investigations, it could point to a diagnosis of unexplained infertility.
However, rest assured that even with an unexplained infertility diagnosis, there are many modern fertility treatments available to help you on a path to parenthood. Learn more about the diagnosis of unexplained infertility and treatments to overcome the diagnosis below.
Diagnosis of Unexplained Infertility
The first step for couples who are struggling to conceive is to do an assessment of fertility through investigations such as blood tests and ultrasound scans, checking the fallopian tubes and uterus, and a semen analysis.
If the results of these tests come back with no clear cause for pregnancy delay, and you have been trying to conceive for more than a year, it may lead your specialist to determine a diagnosis of unexplained infertility.
Chance of Pregnancy with Unexplained Infertility
A diagnosis of unexplained infertility can feel very frustrating for couples. It may seem as though there should be no reason why you haven’t been successful yet, considering the tests have found no cause for concern.
It’s important to remember that conception is a very complex process, involving several factors – many of which occur on a microscopic level. Some of these factors and interactions include:
- Sperm and egg quality - the eggs and sperm must be healthy and able to meet within the fallopian tube
- The sperm must be able to enter the egg for fertilisation to occur
- The fertilised egg must be able to implant inside the lining of the uterus
Even if there are no fertility factors of concern, chance of successful pregnancy in a given month can vary from 20% down to less than 10% depending on other factors such as female age.
The good news is, those diagnosed with unexplained infertility often go on to achieving a pregnancy, whether by continuing to try naturally or by increasing the chance of pregnancy through assisted reproductive treatment such as IVF.
What are unexplained infertility treatment options?
Once a diagnosis of unexplained infertility has been reached, your Fertility Specialist will develop a treatment pathway specific to your goals and individual circumstances. Factors such as your age, length of time trying, family goals and other circumstances will be discussed to decide the best course of action.
Below are a few fertility treatment options involving assisted reproductive technologies.
Intrauterine insemination involves inserting the male partner’s (or donor’s) prepared semen through the neck of the womb (cervix) and into the uterus, close to the time of ovulation.
Couples may be recommended to try IUI as a starting point, which can help get the sperm closer to the eggs at the right time.
IVF is often the main proposed line of treatment to combat a diagnosis of unexplained infertility which allows an egg and sperm to be joined together outside the body, in a specialised laboratory.
The fertilised egg (embryo) grows in a protected environment for some days before being transferred into the woman's uterus, increasing the chance that a pregnancy will occur.
Another benefit of doing IVF alongside a diagnosis of unexplained infertility is that it provides your fertility specialist and laboratory team with a lot more information to determine what may be causing pregnancy delay, since they are able to see the eggs and sperm interact together outside of the body and monitor fertilisation.
There are other specialised treatments and scientific techniques that can be explored alongside IVF, such as Pre-implantation Genetic Testing of embryos, or PGT.
What to do if you’ve been struggling to conceive
It is strongly recommended you seek assistance after 6 months of trying if you are over the age of 35, and after 12 months of trying if you are under 35.
At Melbourne IVF, we have fertility specialists who are experts in the area of unexplained infertility. Meet our dedicated specialists here, and to book an initial consultation call 1800 111 483.
Unexplained Infertlity FAQ's
What could cause unexplained infertility?
There’s an abundance of potential reasons that may cause unexplained infertility. From variable lifestyle factors to more microscopic causes such as egg and sperm quality, it is difficult to pinpoint exact causes for unexplained infertility.
Can unexplained infertility cases be treated?
Unexplained infertility may be treated with assisted reproductive technology such as IUI and IVF. It’s also possible for couples to conceive naturally despite being diagnosed with unexplained infertility, or with the help of fertility treatments.
What percentage of infertility is unexplained?
A diagnosis of unexplained infertility is surprisingly common. It’s estimated that approximately 10 – 20% of couples experiencing infertility are unexplained.